[time-nuts] The future of Telecom Frequency Standard surplus

Chris Albertson albertson.chris at gmail.com
Thu Jun 1 13:54:29 EDT 2017

I think there will be fewer useful parts.

The reason is integration.   In the old days they would buy off the shelf
equipment like a GPS receiver that was inside its own box and was cabled to
something else.  A better newer design would be to use a "GPS Chip" can
route the output not using a cable but with PCB traces.   An even better
design is to move the GPS on-chip And one day you get a "cell phone tower
on a chip"  THAT day may never come but you get the point.   The trend is
that the sub-parts will be be separable.

Going back a few years in technology.   I bought a broken 1950's vintage
Hammond organ (no, not a classic B2) because I wanted to build a guitar
amplifier.  The dead organ has good transformers, tubes and tube sockets
and so on.  In other words it was built entirely from generic parts that
could have been used to build their day to build any kind of audio
equipment.   50's vintage guitar amps used the same parts, just wired up

You can no longer to this with audio gear.  Just try taking an AV receiver
apart so you can build your own iPod.  Today all the parts are specialized
and there are few generic parts in most phones, TV sets and the like.

The good news is that making you own specialized parts is now much easier.
FPGAs are cheap and the actual designs are in software that can be pushed
around for free over the Internet, kept on GitHub or whatever.    As an
example I needed a logic analyzer.  These used to be big expensive beasts
but today one can use a generic FPGA development board and somefware for
less than the cost to ship the beast via UPS.

In short, my prediction:  Less surplus gear but better ability to get new
gear so less need of the old stuff.

On Wed, May 31, 2017 at 8:47 AM, Tom Knox <actast at hotmail.com> wrote:

> I think many of us Time-Nuts have played with the wide range of frequency
> standards surplussed from the Telecom market.
> My questions is, will the quality of future surplus offerings go up or
> down as 4G and in the more distant future 5G surplus Frequency Standards
> hit the market? It seems with higher data rates stability and phase noise
> demands will increase, but will other advances find ways around the expense
> of a high end Frequency Standard. I know some early telecom systems even
> want as far as Cesium Standards, but more robust network tolerances seems
> to have reduced the need for that level of performance. So which way are we
> headed?
> Any thought? I imagine some members are actually involved in design and
> implementation of the next generation telecom technologies and will have
> direct knowledge.
> Thanks;
> Thomas Knox
> 1-303-554-0307
> actast at hotmail.com
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Chris Albertson
Redondo Beach, California

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